I’ve been busy the past couple of days coming up with the Ten Commandments of Brian.
Best selling author and blogger Gretchen Rubin suggests that readers of her book, “The Happiness Project,” establish a list of personal commandments to be used as overarching principles and guiderails to help lead a happy life. Other philosophers, self help gurus, and writers have had their own spin on this idea over the years. Some have suggested coming up with a personal mission statement that spells out your goals and objectives.
I see through the pop culture nature of these things, but I still find myself playing along. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the commandments I would set for myself. You may be surprised by what I’ve created:
- Be Brian. Be authentic. Be me. I’m stealing right away from Rubin, but I think she’s onto something. I know that the biggest problems I’ve run into at home or in my career have been because I’ve tried to be something that I’m not. When I’m authentic, when I’m the most honest and, even dare I say vulnerable to others, good things happen.
- Love my neighbor. Treat others the way I would want to be treated. Honor my father and mother. In short, follow the original Ten Commandments. Hey, if I’m stealing from Rubin, then it probably makes sense to steal liberally from God. Don’t you think?
- Spend part of each day laughing, thinking, and crying. In the words of the late North Carolina State University Basketball Coach Jim Valvano: “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days-a-week and you’re going to have something special.”
- Tell my family and friends that I love them. Daily. More so if needed.
- Remember the manners that my mother taught me. Be kind to others. Share. When you’re wrong, admit it. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Leave something for the next person. Clean up after yourself. Hold hands and stick together.
- Write each day. When I write, even if only a few trite words, I start to understand how I really feel about a problem, issue, situation, relationship, etc., etc. For me the act of sitting at a screen or putting pen to paper helps me work through the junk of life. It helps me see clearly God’s plan for me.
- Have high goals. Work hard to achieve them.
- Do your best. Not John’s best. Not Jane’s best. Do my best. And never leave anything in the tank. Be the hardest worker.
- Smile. See the positive. The world has plenty of bad, be the force for change. See the good.
- Pray, be grateful, and be a good person. In short, remember the big picture.
Too big? Too small? Too specific or too broad? Too concrete or abstract? What do you think?